Make It Portrait Project

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for your willingness to participate in this photography project.  A few weeks ago I was in a used bookstore and the cover of the book on the right instantly struck me. At first, it was its design that I was drawn to, but then I began to think about how the phrase "make it yourself" in 1973 (the book's publication date) had a much narrower and more literal meaning for women than it does today. Forty years ago it was needlework and crafts, today it is still "needlework and crafts", but it is also an entire world of other milestones - working mothers (which is every mother I think, in or out of the home), respected leaders of companies, courageous entrepreneurs, survivors of traumatic life events, selfless pioneers of change. 

Meanwhile, for months - maybe years - I've been feeling a lot of admiration for the amazing women in my life, all working and living in the same small region. Some of you I know quite well, and some of you I've only recently met, but as I mentioned in my first email, you have each inspired me in some way, either in your professional or personal lives. For some time, I have been brainstorming a way to represent this wonderful network of women in a visual way, and to combine my love for both photography and graphic design. Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the GIRLHOOD project, which feels a bit like an accidental precursor to MAKE IT. My approach to that project can be found here.

I would like to photograph each of you similar to the way the woman on the cover of this book is photographed. This project is part homage to the timeless and straight-forward design of the book's cover, and part "about-face' reinterpretation to the context of the original publication (the book is filled with patterns to follow and step-by-step instructions). 

So.....when you arrive to have your portrait taken, please keep in mind the following things: dress in whatever you are comfortable in. If you don't wear make-up, don't wear make-up. If you do, do. Please also think of a word to replace with "yourself" in the phrase "MAKE IT YOURSELF". You can think of several one-word answers if you like, but they should be in some way applicable to your life. This is a weird analogy, but imagine that you are coaching a team of 20 players, each one a younger version of yourself. They are about to start the most important game of the season. What do you tell them? "Girls, make it _______!" (Replace 'game' with project, meeting, surgery, case, labour, performance, painting, blog post, meal, adventure, race, campaign,....anything!) This phrase will appear in the photograph just as it does in the original.

Once all of the portraits are shot (I will give you all access to a google doc with sign-up blocks and times/locations) I plan to organize a show. The portraits will be printed 1:1 scale, and hung in a beautiful space at eye height, with the original inspiration (can we refer to her as Cindy?) as part of the show as well. There will be a small bio next to your portrait, but the emphasis is not on career or background, accomplishment, or experience. The emphasis will be on the woman in each portrait - interesting, approachable, unapologetic (who also happens to have done amazing things). The group is very diverse and non-exclusive. You are writers, lawyers, healthcare workers, moms, special olympics athletes, artists, advocates, students, educators, world travellers, sisters,  and friends. 

The show will be a one-evening event with food and drink, in a beautiful setting, sometime in October 2015. All proceeds from a small admission charged at the door will be given to a local organization benefiting young girls (yet to be determined and open to suggestions), in order to help give the next generation an opportunity to make it even further. 

If this is not what you had in mind when I originally asked you to participate, you are by no means obligated to continue of course! But I am very very grateful to anyone who is still willing to be a part of this project. I'm very excited about it! I wish I had had my act together to send this out on International Women's day but hey, it was a 23 hour day! 

*you will receive digital files of your final portrait once the show has taken place.